Consciousness - A Brief Guide To The Fundamental Mystery Of The Mind. Author, Annaka Harris - Harper Collins Publishers. For more info click HERE
Intuitively we believe we know who we are. We believe we are how we view and experience ourselves. Yet, a valid question arises, is this intuitive, experiential conclusion based on experience correct?
Seeking to know ourselves, the what, who, where and why we are, this small but thought-provoking book might be of service. It concerns some of the latest theories regarding the search for, about, and of self, as related to consciousness, and gives much to consider. Current ideas concerning what we are and how we conceptualize self are explored. The ideas, ranging from personal experience, and extending to those entertained by science, based on its current research, are reviewed and examined. Still, at best fully understanding “self” and “consciousness” remains a work in progress.
Still, this book gives one time to pause, think, and reconsider our everyday, taken for granted experience. As noted in the previous paragraph, it presents ideas and theories of how the science of the day is beginning to investigate and conceptualize the sense of ourselves, consciousness, and our behaviors. For a theosophist, interested in mystical, and perhaps occult theories, it is surely a work that deserves deep examination, reflection, exploration, and application.
It comments on leading ideas, such as mind, matter, and consciousness, the latter as the experience of what it is like to be a conscious “system”. In fact, the very question of what can become or experience consciousness itself is briefly explored. Can rocks, plants, and other seemingly unconscious systems possibly experience consciousness? It even brings up questions such as, are self-driving cars conscious? From a theosophical perspective, this is a profound question that deserves serious consideration.
The author also explores some of the brain mechanisms involved in presenting to us, illusions of living in a singular world with its experience, versus how a brain is able to “construct” the illusion or image of a seamless world, with its events, which we then believe in. It explores the idea of when, or the point at which we become conscious and able to reflect on events and things. And it appears from the current research, consciousness is the last to know, as it is not aware of the event as it unfolds, only after!.
This book further explores some of the processes that unveil the inner workings of our brain-mind complex, especially when they misfunction and how this impacts and alters our perceptions and thoughts. It shows us how fragile our perceptions, conceptions, and beliefs are, especially when living in and with, the world of bacteria and parasites. We are shown in this book, how organisms such as these, can alter our behaviors, intent and directions in life, perhaps without our knowing, and further how we then, after such behaviors, or retrospectively so to say, rationalize why we did such things, although unbeknown to ourselves, it has been directly related to our hosting such bacteria or parasites as causative agents. I.E., how they hi jack our brain’s functionality. Even the view of “Zombies” comes up.
Further, we get a glimpse of how various researchers in science view the question of “Free Will”, and what they themselves believe. We get an introduction to how “split brain” patients function and how, when the hemispheres of the brain no longer communicate, this impacts one’s experience of person and consciousness itself.
The work looks at the relationships that exist between the ideas or sense of self, I-ness, awareness, and consciousness. Does the idea of personality become simply the content of or in consciousness, are they the same, or different?
It ends with an examination of Panpsychism as understood by various theorists. Also, with a brief examination of Consciousness and Time. The idea that consciousness may be inherent in the very fabric of the universe itself, or at least act as an inherent property of matter itself is seen as worth exploring. So also, is the relation Consciousness shares with the idea of the passage of time.
This is a small book, yet it packs a significant amount of information worthy of the examination of any theosophical thinker. It is a work to enjoy and deeply consider.
This edition of Notable Books was compiled by Eugene Jennings